The National Association of Home Builders said Tuesday its monthly Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) reading of builders’ sentiment rose to 17 in March. This is the highest level the HMI has reached after stagnating at the same level for four months. A reading below 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor. The index has not been above 50 since April 2006 and it has been moving sideways at a very depressed level in the last eight quarters.
Builder Confidence Edges Up One Point in March
After four consecutive months hovering at the same low level, builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes improved by a single point in March, rising to 17 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the highest level the HMI has reached since May 2010, when the survey period corresponded with the final days of the federal home buyer tax credit program.
“While many home buyers are still holding off on making a purchase, builders did indicate slightly increased optimism about the future with a two-point gain in the HMI component gauging sales expectations for the next six months,” added NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “In fact, prevailing indicators portend some improvement in the overall economy, which should generate modest housing market gains later this year.”
Two out of three of the HMI’s component indexes held unchanged in March, including the component gauging current sales conditions (holding at 17) and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers (holding at 12). Meanwhile, the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months rose two points in March to 27, its highest level since May 2010.